You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Yahoo Is Shutting Down TV App IntoNow — But the Second Screen Isn’t Dead Yet

In another signal the “second screen” TV-companion app craze is ebbing, Yahoo said it is phasing out IntoNow, a three-year-old app that automatically recognized what viewers were watching and delivered synchronized content.

Turns out, many people who watch TV really just want to watch TV instead of fiddling with an app in their lap at the same time. Or, if they’re interacting with friends, they’re more likely to commune via Twitter or Facebook rather than a dedicated TV app.

But the concept of mobile apps that let viewers interact with TV programming is not completely dead — and the dwindling number of players may actually benefit those that remain.

Yahoo, in a message titled “We’re Out like Walter White” on the IntoNow website, said that “as part of our ongoing efforts to sharpen our focus,” the IntoNow app will stop working on March 31, 2014. The apps for iOS and Google Android have been unavailable to download since Jan. 24.

The underlying IntoNow technology will live on through other products and apps, like Yahoo Smart TV and the new Loops feature in the Yahoo Sports app for iOS7, the company said. Yahoo announced the change on Twitter last week and the shutdown was reported Tuesday by TechCrunch.

SEE ALSO: GetGlue Sale: Let the Second-Screen Shakeout Begin

Yahoo acquired IntoNow for around $20 million in April 2011 — less than three months after the startup was formed. IntoNow founder Adam Cahan is now senior VP of mobile and emerging products.

But the death of IntoNow doesn’t mean every player in the whole category is on its deathbed. Shazam Entertainment, which started as a song-recognition app, has been been downloaded more than 420 million times worldwide, with 80 million monthly active users. Starting in late 2012, it also has the ability to detect what’s on U.S. TV by scanning about 160 channels in real time.

Shazam has teed up several features specifically for Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, to let fans not only identify ads but also track the game’s progress in the app. The company says it has deals with certain Super Bowl advertisers but wouldn’t identify them or disclose terms. In 2013, the Super Bowl was “shazamed” more than 250,000 times — and Shazam is expecting that to be much higher this year.

SEE ALSO: TV Viewers Aren’t Thrilled with Second-Screen Synchronized Content, Study Finds

Other developers continue to invest in second-screen apps. Coincidentally, on Tuesday Utah-based TV guide app company i.TV announced it was discontinuing GetGlue, the name of the second-screen TV startup it acquired last fall. Instead, i.TV is launching “tvtag,” an app that will replace GetGlue that lets TV viewers share moments from the program they’re watching with their friends. The tvtag service is launching with a user base approaching 10 million, said CEO Brad Pelo.

How it works: i.TV is paying more than 50 professional curators to watch live TV and then caption the clips. The company has about 85 employees total, with about a dozen in New York from the GetGlue deal.

But even today, how some second-screen TV apps plan to make money isn’t clear. In the case of tvtag? “The business model will be ad-based,” Pelo said. But for now, “that hasn’t been fully drawn out in the product.”

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Still from "Andhadhun"

    Microsoft Streaming Deal Lifts Shares in India’s Eros

    Shares of leading Bollywood film distributor Eros International soared by 38% on Thursday following news of the company’s link up with Microsoft to develop a new generation of video streaming platform. The multinational company said that its Eros Now video operation would work with Microsoft Azure to develop its technology in three ways. They seek [...]

  • Comcast X1 DAZN

    Comcast Adds DAZN Sports-Streaming Service to Xfinity Flex, Sets Launch on X1

    DAZN, the digital sports service headed by ex-ESPN boss John Skipper, is now available to Comcast broadband customers on Xfinity Flex and will be available on Xfinity X1 this fall. It’s the first distribution deal for DAZN with a major U.S. provider since it debuted the combat-sports-oriented service in the States a year ago. In [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Raises Bar for Channel Verification, Stripping Some Creators of Verified Status

    YouTube is making it harder for channels to receive a verification badge indicating their authenticity — and the program’s new requirements mean that some channels won’t be eligible for verification. Like other internet platforms, YouTube indicates to viewers that specific channels are officially run by the creator, artist, celebrity or company they represent with an [...]

  • BuzzFeed - Katie Sitter

    BuzzFeed Taps Activision Blizzard's Katie Sitter as Head of HR (EXCLUSIVE)

    BuzzFeed hired Katie Sitter, most recently an HR exec at Activision Blizzard, as senior VP of people. Sitter, who starts at the company Sept. 30, will lead the BuzzFeed HR organization and oversee strategic initiatives related to organizational planning, talent acquisition, learning and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, labor relations, and diversity, equity, and [...]

  • Kano

    Kano Tipped to Launch ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Frozen’ Coding Kits

    Educational consumer electronics startup Kano is getting ready to release “Star Wars” and “Frozen” coding kits, according to regulatory filings. Recent FCC filings made by the company reveal plans to release a product called “The Force Coding Kit” as well as one called “The Disney Frozen Coding Kit.” Kano representatives didn’t respond to multiple requests [...]

  • Apple Arcade

    Apple Officially Launches Apple Arcade Game Subscription Service

    Apple officially cut the ribbon for its new game subscription service Thursday: Priced $4.99 per month, Apple Arcade offers unlimited access to over 100 exclusive games. Apple Arcade was released alongside iOS 13, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Some of the titles available through the subscription package include “Lego Brawls” from Lego [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content